Shelter again offers services for runaways, homeless youth

The South King Youth Shelter is open and running once again.

A place of refuge for younger-than-18 runaway and homeless youth has reopened and hopes to fill a community void that has been missing from South King County for more than three years.

In October 2014, the shelter, known as SKYS (South King Youth Shelter) closed for lack of adequate funding to maintain a 24-hour staffed shelter resource. As a result, youth in the area of greatest need in King County, with the highest rates of poverty and youth homelessness, had no option for safe shelter in their own community.

The SKYS facility then, and now, is available to youth from the Enumclaw and Black Diamond areas.

“We’re so relieved King County has decided to help reopen this facility,” said Michelle Hankinson, director of homeless services at Nexus Youth and Families. “We’ve seen so many young people from South King County be turned away because of lack of resources.”

Nexus – formerly known as Auburn Youth Resources – has provided shelter services, intensive case management services, individual, group and family counseling, substance abuse education and treatment and aftercare services for more than 45 years. Based in Auburn, it has maintained a presence in Enumclaw since 1980. The nonprofit organization will run the shelter with county support and intends to provide a minimum of 225 runaway and homeless youth with shelter services during the next three years.

The shelter will provide comprehensive services and aims to build strong, trusting relationships. Nexus is hopeful that a high percentage of the youth will be reunited with families or will be transitioned to stable housing. For more information on SKYS or to make a referral, call 253-350-0836.

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